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Thoughts on an 8-6 Rangers win

Rangers 8, M’s 6

MLB: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 8, Mariners 6

  • That was a nice little surprise, last night.
  • I have to admit, I was prepared to give up on this game early last night. Once Taylor Hearn gave up a bunch of runs in the first inning, I wrote things off and mentally accepted that this series would be a sweep by the M’s, and was just hoping things could get straightened out starting Friday in Oakland.
  • Its much more fun to be on the other side of things. Its much more fun to be on the side that comes back from a big deficit and picks up a comeback win than to be on the side that blows a big early lead.
  • Taylor Hearn...maybe we just shouldn’t have him start in Seattle for a while.
  • On the positive side, after a five run first inning by the M’s, the Rangers held Seattle to one run the rest of the way. Hearn was in jams in both the second and third, with a double and a walk in the second, and the third starting with an E5 and a single, but he wiggled out and, despite the big hole he dug for himself early on, managed to keep it from getting any bigger.
  • I will say it helped to have the Rangers come back and put runs on the board in the top of the second. It at least makes it feel less hopeless, less like there’s no possibility of a comeback. One the Rangers plated a pair to make it 5-2, it put me in a place where I actually could think that, well, maybe they would come back.
  • The bullpen, which has been a problem all season, came up huge for Texas. Albert Abreu came in to pitch the fourth and fifth and was terrific, striking out three of the seven batters he faced, walking one and not allowing any hits or runs. Brett Martin gave us some cause for concern in the sixth — by which point the Rangers had claimed the lead — by issuing a one out walk to Adam Frazier and then a line drive single to Ty France two put two on with one out. Brett Martin’s forte is getting ground balls, though, and he elicited a first pitch 3-6-1 GIDP out of Jesse Winker to end the inning.
  • Spencer Patton made things exciting again in the eighth, giving up a two out single and then a four pitch walk, prompting Matt Bush to come in to face Julio Rodriguez. Bush got Rodriguez looking on a 2-2 pitch that was out of the strike zone, so the M’s have reason to bitch about that, but the Rangers have had bad calls against them this year as well so...*shrug*.
  • Bush got into trouble in the eighth, issuing back-to-back four pitch walks with one out, then after a Winker pop out allowed Eugenio Suarez to bring home the tying run with a single. Joe Barlow was summoned to put out the fire, which he did by striking out Tom Murphy, albeit only after loading the bases with a walk to J.P. Crawford.
  • Asked to pick up the save following the Rangers plating a pair in the ninth, Barlow got the job done, albeit with a huge assist from Adolis Garcia, who made an amazing leaping catch where he laid out and went horizontal to snag a line drive in the left-center gap off the bat of Rodriguez. And with that, the losing streak was broken.
  • As noted above, the Rangers picked up a pair of runs in the top of the second to narrow the M’s lead. Nathaniel Lowe continued his early season Rod Carew imitation by singling to center, Andy Ibanez brought him home with an RBI double, and then Eli White brought Ibanez home with an RBI double.
  • Things stayed that way until the top of the fifth. White reached base to lead off the inning on an E-6 throwing error that allowed him to go to second. Marcus Semien and Corey Seager each had fly ball outs, but each allowed White to advance, making it 5-3 with two outs after White scored on the Seager sac fly.
  • With two on and no one out, Mitch Garver reached on another E-6, bringing up Adolis Garcia. Adolis spanked a 2-2 pitch for a double, bringing home Garver and making it a 5-4 game, then came around to score himself when Nick Solak took Marco Gonzalez deep, making it a 6-5 Rangers lead. A Nathaniel Lowe double chased Gonzalez, though former Ranger Erik Swanson got pinch hitter Brad Miller to ground out for the final out of the inning.
  • Thus bringing us to the top of the ninth. Corey Seager led off the inning with a ball he hit hard — 99.9 mph off the bat — but got under, resulting in an F8. Mitch Garver followed up with a K. With two outs and no one on, Adolis Garcia came up as the go ahead run, and despite Drew Steckenrider’s attempts to get him to chase, Garcia drew a seven pitch walk.
  • This is the at bat that had folks talking after the game (and, at least on Twitter, during the ninth inning). Garcia, as anyone who reads this blog knows, wasn’t known for his patience at the plate in 2021, drawing just 32 walks against 194 Ks. One of the projects for Garcia for 2022 was to improve his selectivity at the plate — have fewer pitches out of the zone he was chasing.
  • Which is why it was a big deal that, after seeing five fastballs from Steckenrider to start the at bat — two balls followed by three fouls — Garcia laid off a 2-2 curveball that was just a little bit low. Its the type of pitch that a reliever is going to show to an aggressive hitter in an effort to change his eye level and get him to chase, especially after five straight fastballs. Its the type of pitch that Garcia has to learn to lay off in order to build on his 2021 success.
  • And Garcia did lay off, spitting on the pitch, then watching a 3-2 fastball out of the zone go by to draw the walk and put the go-ahead run on first. Kole Calhoun, off to an awful start, sent a 2-2 changeup down the right field line for an RBI double to give the Rangers the lead, coming around to score an insurance run himself when Nathaniel Lowe followed up with a single.
  • It was the type of game the Rangers have been losing, instead of winning — a game where they took advantages of breaks and opportunities, while the other side let chances slip away.
  • Taylor Hearn topped out at 94.7 mph on his fastball, averaging 93.9 mph, and touched 95.6 mph with his sinker. Albert Abreu reached 98.2 mph with his fastball, and 97.9 mph with his sinker. Brett Martin topped out at 92.7 mph with his sinker, while Spencer Patton was just a hair behind him with his fastball, reaching 92.6 mph. Matt Bush hit 96.4 mph with his fastball, and Joe Barlow hit 94.8 mph.
  • Nick Solak led the way in terms of exit velocity, with his home run having an exit velocity of 111.1 mph, the highest of any batter on either team. Second, ironically, was Julio Rodriguez’s line drive in the ninth that Adolis Garcia snared, which was 108.8 mph off the bat. Corey Seager had a ground out at 105.9 mph to go with his 99.9 mph ninth inning fly out. Kole Calhoun’s double was 103.8 mph off the bat. Andy Ibanez and Brad Miller had some bad luck, with groundouts of 103.1 mph and 102.4 mph, respectively, while Nathaniel Lowe reached on an error that was 102.5 mph off the bat.
  • Now the Rangers are off to Oakland to play the rebuilding A’s — and hopefully Texas can build on Thursday’s win. Its a long season, but being deep in the red early isn’t fun, and hopefully Texas can get things going the right direction now.